Suicide at Cebu bridge

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Friday, August 8, 2014


CEBU -- A 36-year-old woman believed to be suffering from a nervous breakdown jumped to her death at the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge Thursday afternoon.

Police identified her as Angeline Dimpas, single and a resident of Zone Sibuyas, Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City.

Men loitering in the Mandaue Bridge Park in Barangay Umapad jumped into the water to rescue the woman, who was wearing only her pants.

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An ambulance of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation arrived and brought Dimpas to the Mandaue City District Hospital, but she failed to make it alive.

Before this happened, the Mactan-Cebu Bridge Management Board (MCBMB) met in the morning at the Capitol and passed a resolution supporting the P30-million Mandaue Bridge Park project.

The park will have a children’s playground, a gate ball playground for senior citizens, seaside benches, an administration building, rest rooms and concessionaire stalls to earn revenues for the park’s upkeep.

CCTV footage

PO1 Martin Auman of the Mandaue City Police Station 5 in Barangay Opao said a TV crew called their station informing them of the suicide.

Antonio Madera, 29, a construction worker, said he saw the woman, who was not wearing a shirt or blouse, fall.

But she was not seen topless in recorded CCTV images.

Lea Dimpas, the woman’s aunt, told investigators that her niece had a nervous breakdown.

“According to her aunt, it was not the first time Angeline tried to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge,” said PO1 Richel Bacay of the Mandaue City Police Station 5.

In previous instances, her aunt and relatives were able to stop Dimpas.

Dimpas’s fall was captured by a closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed on the bridge.

Leo Bacus, head of the Traffic and Security Monitoring System (TSMS), said a woman was seen climbing the railing of the bridge on the Mandaue side at 1:57 p.m.

As the CCTV camera was moving 360 degrees, it failed to capture the actual jump.

Bacus said the camera captured the woman’s fall and the splash of water.

Bacus said the woman had a blouse on based on the CCTV images.

Usual site for suicides

The two bridges connecting the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have lured several suicidal persons.

On July 9, 2013, a man in his 30s died after he jumped off the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.

Suicide attempts on the two bridges have caused public alarm in the past two years. In February 2012, a hotel lifeguard depressed over his breakup with his Korean girlfriend attempted to jump from the old bridge.

It took the police and family members, including his wife, two hours to talk him out of suicide.

Two months later, a 30-year-old man jumped from the bridge and landed on a swimmer below who was killed. The jumper survived.

In June of the same year, a 50-year-old American climbed a tower of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, depressed over the closure of his restobar and his failure to renew his immigration papers. He came down after reaching the top of the 50-foot tower, saying he was scared.

On December 12 last year, a woman in her 20s, who was believed to be suffering from a mental disorder, tried to jump from the old bridge but she was stopped by Eruf rescuers.

Three days later, a 30-year-old man jumped the Marcelo Fernan Bridge but he survived.

Security

Bacus said there are no security guards assigned at the bridges. Activities on the bridges are monitored through CCTV cameras.

The TSMS monitor the CCTV footages in their command center at the foot the bridge in Barangay Pusok.

Bacus said stopping persons from committing suicide is hard. “It’s hard to prevent suicide because anyone can go to the bridge anytime,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

He said that a person who wants to commit suicide but lingers on the bridge can still be rescued. “If the person jumps right away, there’s nothing we can do,” he said in Cebuano.

Bridge project

At the bridge board meeting yesterday, Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) board of director Girlie Garces showed the board a video presentation on how the area would look like once the park is developed under the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge.

The Mandaue City Government is working with the MCCCI on the project, of which sources of funds will mainly be from donations and sponsorships.

MCCI wants the board to adopt the project, but because the ownership of the land needs to be established, for now, the body just supports the development.

“We need to prepare the groundwork on how it will be implemented,” said Mactan-Cebu International Airport General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete, who authored the resolution supporting the beautification project.

District engineer Suzette Nwanaka of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), who attended the meeting, said she will inquire from their Manila office about the ownership of the area.

Public domain

Brando Raya, DPWH 7 head of the legal department, said, though, that roads and highways on reclaimed areas are public domain, so the area under the bridge is most likely a public domain because bridges are owned by the state.

Villarete said that with this view, there is no urgency for the titling, but when a third party like MCCI is involved, the property must be titled.

This way, the parties concerned can enter into an agreement with the owner of the property, he said.

The board also passed yesterday a resolution renewing the contracts of utilities and advertisers.

The records showed that the MCBMB is getting P203,394 in monthly contributions from 10 utilities and advertisers for the maintenance of the two bridges.

Lani Guinto of DPWH told the board that as agreed in their MOA with advertisers and utilities, the board will impose a 10-percent increase from their monthly contributions.

JKJ Media Services turned over yesterday to MCBMB presiding officer Gov. Hilario Davide III a check worth P173,935.08, representing their advance contribution for one year.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the one-year contract of four computer personnel, who will manage and monitor the bridge’s security camera.

It also granted the request of Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal III that the two bridges be used on Aug. 24 for the “Run for Sight” event.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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